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Keeping the faith while keeping your job: harmonize your religious beliefs and the rules of the workplace.

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Introduction

Keeping the faith while keeping your job: harmonize your religious beliefs and the rules of the workplace. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office receives complaints) When his religious beliefs conflicted with NBA policies, Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a devout Muslim, was suspended. Rauf had refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem, saying it went against his understanding of Islam. Eventually, after the controversy surfaced in the media, he reached a compromise with the NBA: He would stand for the flag but pray silently during the Pledge of Allegiance. While Rauf's situation played out in grand proportions, many workers in America face less publicized standoffs between their religious beliefs and the edicts of the workplace. ...read more.

Middle

Jehovah's Witnesses do not traditionally celebrate birthdays or holidays. Evans, a customer service representative at the time, initially did not explain her reasoning to her co-workers. When she did, she was ridiculed. Her boss was also unsympathetic and gradually withdrew important projects from her charge. As a result, Evans quit. For many of us, however, quitting isn't an option. Samaria Tillman, director of human resources at BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine in New York, asserts that religion is an employee's business, but employers must respect that preference. "Employees should be proactive and talk to their employer about their beliefs, then work out conflicts with the least amount of disruption," she urges. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Alexandria, Virginia, the employer must at least consider the employee's request not to work on Saturday. However, an employer is justified in dismissing an employee if accommodating them will cause undue hardship, such as paying overtime to other employees or being short of staff. According to SHRM, employers should take the following steps to reduce their liability from any complaint of religious discrimination: * If an employee is being harassed, investigate the situation thoroughly. Look at the frequency and severity of the abusive conduct. * Gather written information from co-workers if relevant and keep written statements. * Give the employee who has been accused of offensive conduct an opportunity to address the concerns. ...read more.

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